Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman is coming out October 4 in the UK, October 18 in the US. The Guardian published some excerpts over the weekend and got everyone all a-titter. Alan wrote the diaries with the intention that they would be published, so read these with a clear conscience. His wife Rima Horton takes over the book when Alan is too weak from pancreatic cancer to write, and she details his last few days. The beauty of Alan’s entries is that he wrote in his own voice, so it feels like you’re having a chat. The bonus is there is all this wonderful gossip and insight we’re hearing for the first time. One of the big stories is that Alan almost didn’t return to the role of Snape in the Harry Potter movies after Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In the brief blurb we got, he talked about “reiterating” that he was doing no more of the films. But the studios wouldn’t hear it. Thank goodness. By the fifth film, Alan decided Snape’s story was now his story, so he relented to see it through.
Excerpts from Alan Rickman’s diaries are giving insight into the late actor’s role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series and why he decided to continue playing the character amid tough times and desires to quit.
In the diary entries, which were published online by The Guardian on Saturday, Rickman detailed that he wanted to leave the franchise in 2002, one month after the release of the second film: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
“Talking to [agent] Paul Lyon-Maris about HP exit, which he thinks will happen,” Rickman wrote in an entry dated Dec. 4, 2002. “But here we are in the project-collision area again. Reiterating no more HP. They don’t want to hear it.”
The actor decided to stay with the franchise, however, after he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer in 2005, ahead of filming for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the franchise’s fifth installment.
After doctors opted to remove his entire prostate through surgery at a Tennessee hospital, Rickman wrote a journal entry detailing his decision to stay on as Snape in the beloved fantasy saga.
“Finally, yes to HP 5. The sensation is neither up nor down. The argument that wins is the one that says: ‘See it through. It’s your story,’ ” he wrote.
My first question was why did Alan want out of the Potter films? I have no idea if the excerpts are just partial entries or if he just wrote a sentence or two at a time. Maybe Rima will give some interviews and fill in blanks during the promotion. Hard to believe the studios didn’t lock these characters down with multi-picture contracts from the start. Again, I never read the books, maybe Snape wasn’t featured in them as prominently so that wasn’t necessary. But later in his diaries, Alan talks about finishing the last HP book and Snape’s in it, thus my assumption they needed Snape past movie two. It’s also sad because Alan died in 2016, before J.K. Rowling had any tarnish to her. He speaks of talking to and about her in such a way, it makes me miss both of them.
Not surprisingly, the book is already a number one best seller on Amazon. My father keeps a diary. I know it’s going to tear me in two after he’s gone. I’ve always been a crap diarist, but they are important. Sometimes even more important for others more for us. That’s what Instagram has become for me. I suppose Facebook could be as well if you can avoid the toxicity. Alan died on my birthday. Four days after David Bowie died. Personally, I was in one of the worst places I’ve been in – for other reasons, obviously, but I took their deaths so personally. Maybe if I put on one of Bowie’s albums and read Madly, Deeply, it’ll feel like they’re back for just a few minutes.
Photo credit: Instagram and Avalon Red
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